Gary and Angela Williams hit the jackpot and they weren’t even playing the lottery!
The UK couple were lucky enough to spot some ambergris – sperm whale vomit — while strolling along a beach on Morecambe Bay, Lancashire.
The waxy lump of ambergris they found weighed in at 3.4 lbs. Keep in mind that a lump of ambergris found nearby in 2013 sold for close to $175,000.
Sperm whale vomit is highly desired because it develops a sweet, earthy scent over time and is used in making high-end perfumes.
Scientists say ambergris is actually hardened intestinal slurry from a sperm whale. A large chunk may take years to form inside a whale, which is why it is so rare.
Friends point out Gary and Angela are now negotiating with potential buyers over of the piece, which is slightly smaller than a rugby ball. Experts say the price for ambergris can vary notably based on the scent.
“It was a bit of a shock. It was down a section of the beach where no-one really walks,” Gary noted.
“It smells too bad though. It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure,” he went on. “It feels like a rock hard rubber ball. Its texture is like wax, like a candle.
When you touch it you get wax sticking to your fingers.”
Gary concluded: “If it is worth a lot of money it will go a long way towards buying us a static caravan, it would be a dream come true.”
Of note, it’s illegal to use ambergris in perfumes in the United States because of the sperm whale's status as an endangered animal.